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Monday, April 30, 2007
** That Australia would be the champions once again, came to light after the first semi-final which saw South Africa putting up a no-show. Phrases like "May the best team win!" are justified, after all.

** Ricky Ponting's bold display of confidence before every match was one of the highlights of the tournament. But he stuck to his statements, in the end, and this prevented his attitude from being termed over-confidence or cautious optimism.

** Glenn Mcgrath walked away with the Player of the Tournament award and this made his exit from cricket, one of pride and not one of ignominy.

** Ricky Ponting proved that he was the most efficient captain in the tournament. He ensured that Mcgrath played every single match of the last tournament of the latter's career. Contrast this with Rahul Dravid who kept Anil Kumble out for his team's very first match of the tournament!

** The cricketing world will see no more of The Pigeon. All good things must come to an end!
** Stephen Fleming will be missed. Whether he is retiring on grounds of his team's exit from the World Cup or of a long tenure, is not known. Taking over from Lee Germon in 1996, Fleming saw the Kiwis rise to new levels. This included making it to the semi-finals in the 1999 and the 2007 world cups. Very recently he saw his team chasing gargantuan totals against the mighty Aussies and coming out successfully.
** Brian Lara--a legend. One of the greatest batsmen the world has ever seen. Too bad he had to end his career on an unsuccessful note.

** Telecast by Sony was, to say the least, worse! Hope to get better coverage in the next edition.
Property of Sheks @ 10:17 pm   4 comments
Friday, April 06, 2007
The World Cup is not over yet. The Super Eights are still in progress with eight top TEAMS battling against one another. I highlight the word 'Teams' because they are real Teams and because they display the characteristics of teamwork viz leadership, motivation and collective effort. Looking back at India's World Cup debacle, I wonder if there was any teamwork involved.

My friend, Vinay, quotes two instances of teams playing cricket as a SPORT. The first one, the opening match West Indies vs Pakistan. Vinay quotes:

"West Indies playing Pakistan.. the cup needed something special and all eyes were on Brian Charles Lara.. the man walks out to bat... and gets out soon for some thirty odd runs.. nothin spectacular for Lara's standards... but in the course of that rather brief innings.. Lara faces Kaneria.. Kaneria bowling over the wicket, pitches a whizzing leg spinner outside Lara's off stump...the ball is furiously turning into Lara.. the backlift is high as always..the feet start to dance... and before one can bat an eyelid, the man has moved to outside his leg stump and his bat, in perfect symbiotic relationship to his feet, has come down at the most appropriate instance to late cut the ball past Akmal and the short third man for a boundary.. the cut..perhaps the most unkindest of them all for Kaneria.. but one of the finest to this big fan watching a few thousand miles away."

The next one, Dwayne Leverock's catch of Robin Uthappa

"120 kg weighing Dwayne Leverock flying in the air, pulling off the catch...jumping to his feet (quicker than Dada) and running towards square leg..then stopping cos Malachi Jones, the bowler, had already run there to celebrate...then turning towards long off and running there blowing kisses to the stands.. Only Uthapa was out for crying out loud..not Sachin... dont think they cared... super moment..pure joy of playing the game for the love of it..not for the commercials...not for the fame.. just for the love of cricket."

I like to add on to the above two cases with England's match against Sri Lanka yesterday. England may have lost the match but the way they played deserves mention, particularly the partnership between Pietersen and Bell. England had already lost Ed Joyce and Michael Vaughan by the time Pietersen came in. With the asking rate standing at almost 6 runs an over Pietersen and Bell did the right thing by rotating the strike by taking singles and capitalising on the few loose balls that came their way. Probably the right thing to do against a stiff asking rate and experienced bowlers like Vaas, Muralitharan and Jayasuriya.

India could have easily won the match against Sri Lanka if it had applied the right strategies. Ajit Agarkar at the crease with Rahul Dravid. Rotation of strike would have done the trick. What was the use of going for the lofted shot? In sharp contrast was the 2004 Champion's Trophy final featuring West Indies and England. West Indies chasing a target of 218 was reeling at 147/8 with Courtney Browne and Ian Bradshaw at the crease. The two had a duty to reverse the damage done, so far in the innings and they did it. About India's performance in the WC, period. Post mortem does not help unless it's a murder mystery investigation!

The reactions of the fans in India have been awful, to say the least. Apart from burning effigies and posters of players and the coach, clones, or rather look alikes, of Tendulkar and Sehwag have been humiliated. These poor guys have been receiving the brickbats. Interestingly these very same clones used to be honoured each time Indian won. How stupid!

Now for the question of Chappell's replacement. The BCCI vice president has said that the coach would be selected based on aggression and not on the basis of nationality. A few names in line:

Dave Whatmore : Coach of Sri Lanka during 1996. Orchestrated the World Cup triumph in 1996. Considered one of the most successful coaches of Sri Lanka. However his coaching record with Bangladesh doesnt present a rosy picture.

Geoff Marsh : This Australian was the man behind Australia's 1999 World Cup triumph. Went on to coach Zimbabwe later but track record against Zimbabwe was unimpressive.

My take--Steve Waugh, John Buchannan

The World Cup is not over yet. More Super 8 matches to go. Given the present scenario, it seems obvious that Australia, South Africa and New Zealand will go through to the semis. The fourth team--well, it's a battle of sorts among West Indies, England and Sri Lanka. May the best team win.
Property of Sheks @ 12:01 am   0 comments

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